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2 face arraignment in nearly $10M cigarette trafficking case

17 March 2016 News


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two New Jersey residents charged in a nearly $10 million cigarette trafficking scheme face arraignment in Virginia.

The hearing for 39-year-old Eyad Salahedin and 37-year-old Laila Alayat is set for Thursday in U.S. District Court in Richmond.

The defendants are accused of using shell companies to buy massive quantities of cigarettes from wholesale club stores in Virginia, which has the nation’s second-lowest cigarette excise tax, then transporting them to New Jersey for resale on the black market.

Authorities say that the day after the criminal complaint was filed last month, Alayat was arrested at a New York airport with a ticket to Jordan. Salahedin, a Jordanian citizen, allegedly dropped his co-defendant off at the airport and was arrested a short time later.